Vortex Optics Viper PST 2.5-10x32mm FFP
If you are looking for a SPR rifle optic or a short .308 Gas Gun optic then a strong contender should be the Vortex Optics Viper PST 2.5-10x32mm. This little compact optic has a lot to offer the end user and at a price that is reasonable for the features you get. I want to start by saying that I have been hunting and shooting for more than 25 years. I am no expert and also do not have an unlimited budget. I wanted a Front Focal Plane optic that would work for a .308 AR to hunt deer and pigs. I wanted something light and compact but with a magnification range that was wide enough to hunt at normal distances and on occasion stretch out the effective length of a 16” .308. These requirements lead me to the Vortex OpticViper PST 2.5-10x32mm FFP.
The PST 2.5-10×32 comes in a large card board box with plastic scope covers, a lens cleaning rag, an owner’s manual, reticle guide, and a small amount of swag (lapel pin and sticker). The scope has the covers installed and is wrapped in plastic inside the box. There was nothing special about the packaging and it seems that the optic would be well protected for shipping and storage.
The first thing I did once I had the optic in hand was to run all the dials and knobs back and forth a few times to get a solid feel for them. Unlike some optics I have used in the past, the PST seems to have come out of the box ready to play without having knobs or magnification adjustments that were too stiff. The magnification ring moves easily and in a way that is confident in this low powered scope. It does not move easily if bumped and is easy to access. The top of the ocular has a small red fiber piece to indicate what magnification level you are at. This should make knowing what magnification you are on while behind the gun easy, though with this optic only being 2.5-10x I don’t think this feature will be useful. I can however, see this being very helpful on larger PST models. The parallax adjustment knob moves in a similar fashion to the magnification ring, but just a little easier. I think it will be quick to use but would prefer it to be a little harder to turn, however I do not see it being an issue. The illumination housing also has a fast focus eyepiece, and the illumination. The fast focus eyepiece is a nice touch and serves its purpose without issue. This is a nice feature for this optic and should help speed up initial setup.
I spent some time on the turrets as this is the meat and potatoes on this little optic in my opinion. The turrets are just like all PST models with the knurled tops that will make for easy adjustments in any condition with or without gloves. The clicks are very positive and separated in such a way as to make precise but fast adjustments easy. The optic did come with zero stop shims which I will get to when the optic is mounted. My biggest complaint with this optic is the windage knob. Exposed knobs look well, but I think exposed windage knobs are useless. I would much prefer a capped windage knob as it would make the optic more compact and would be one less thing to be concerned with. While the turrets do take some force to turn, it would be possible for a person to knock the adjustments off while carrying the rifle with a sling. The windage knob being exposed is not that big of a deal, just something to pay attention to. Both the windage and elevation knobs have very good markings that should make it easy to notice if it gets bumped. The elevation knob has a red fiber piece just like the magnification ring to see where zero is. This should prove to be very useful.
The fit and finish of this optic are very well done. The matt black is laid consistently on the tube and all of the white markings are bright and spaced correctly. The optic makes for a very attractive little package and will look nice on top of any AR or bolt rifle.
The surprising thing about this optic is the glass. I had a chance to see this optic side by side with a Leupold MK6 3-18×44. The MK6 is priced about 2.5 times more than the Vortex Optics Viper PST 2.5-10x32m so I wanted to see what the price gave up. With both optics set at 3x, they both have excellent glass and telling them apart was hard. At 5x they both were similar again. At 10x the PST gave up by a fair margin to the MK6. This is not surprising considering that 10x is in the middle of the magnification range for the MK6 and at the top for the PST. The PST seemed only mildly dimmer at 10x and still had bright glass, but the extra coatings and price of the MK6 was clear in the comparison. I understand that the comparison of the two was not fair, but I believe that up until 9x the PST and the MK6 had similar glass and contrast. The PST easily focuses on small objects at ranges of over 400yds and has good detail at long distances. I would say that the PST has the best glass in its price and magnification range easily and will be very functional no matter what task it is given.
The illumination on this optic is done well enough for an optic in this price range. Illumination settings run from 1 to 10 with an “off” setting in between each level. On 1, the illumination shows no bloom effects at night and would seem to work well in very low light. On 10 the illumination is very bright and might be useful in daylight, though I’m not planning on using it in that function. The illumination is necessary on this optic from my point of view. Due to the small 32mm objective, the optic seems to fall flat in low light. This is expected but the illumination helps prolong that effect by a marginal amount. As a daylight only scope this optic excels, but in low light with the small objective it fades fast.
The turrets match the reticule in the mil scale, and make for a great combination. At the lower powers the reticule looks like a plex reticule and in combination with illumination are good at any time of day. At higher magnification the reticule has hash marks at good spacing to allow for elevation or wind holds that will allow for shooting at distance. The FFP scopes are in my opinion dependant on the type of reticule that they have, and I believe that Vortex did very well with this little optic. I will do a follow up on this once I have some time with it this hunting season.
In conclusion, my initial impression of the Vortex Optics Viper PST 2.5-10x32mm FFP is very positive. The issues I have with the optic (exposed windage, easy moving parallax) are not that bad and should not cause any issues. I expect no issues from the optic and think it is very under priced. Once mounted up and some rounds are accounted for using this optic I will report back.
By: Jason Hallmark
Full time Law Enforcement
Thank you for reading, give the Vortex PST a look at: http://www.vortexoptics.com/product/vortex-viper-pst-2-5-10×32-ffp-riflescope-with-ebr-1-moa-reticle.